Probate Court Takes 7 Basic Steps That Help Distribute Assets

When a loved one dies, the property and money that makes up for the estate will be given to the beneficiaries. For this to happen, the property goes through the probate court process. First thing is first the court will have to appoint you to a public administrator that will oversee the process. This person is responsible to represent all parties who have interest in the property or estate. The public administrator will distribute all assets according to the will or without the will.

The 7 steps required in the probate process are:

  1. Filling A Petition

The California probate filling process starts off when you initiate the petition. Typically, it is in the county of the deceased resided at the time of his or her death. So, if the deceased died in California, you would need to go to a California Superior Court. Once that is done you will get to schedule a hearing in less than 30 days.

  1. Handling Notices

This gets to be announced at least three times on the newspaper. All notices go out to the proper heirs of the estate, or beneficiaries (if there is a will). Potential creditors will also be notified.

  1. Providing The Will

It is much better to provide a will if there is one, unless it qualifies as a self-proving will. Each state has it’s own rules in regards to whether or not self-providing wills are okay and, if so, how can they be created.

  1. Asset Collection

One of the main responsibilities the public representative has is to take possession of all of the deceased assets, but only those assets subject to probate. If there was a type of estate that was supposed to be transferred to someone else the representative must take care of that. A fee of the types of assets that my need a title change are:

  • Brokerage Accounts
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bank and Credit Union Accounts
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Physical assets such as motor vehicles, boats, bikes and real property.
  1. Payment To Creditors

Once the public administrator has provided all creditors a notice of the deceased, those with debts payable by the estate must submit a claim. When the claims are verified as valid, they will be paid from the estate. This also includes funeral expenses. California probate court requires creditors to submit their claims within 4 months of the appointment of the public administrator.

  1. Estate Tax Payment

The public administrator will also takes care of all estate taxes are paid, this includes any federal estate taxes and state taxes.   In most cases, the public administrator would not be held personally liable for estate taxes, but if the estate has been distributed before the taxes are paid and there isn’t sufficient property left to pay those taxes, personal liability may be imposed.

  1. The Conclusion of the Estate

The last and final step of closing the estate. This is where you check and makes sure all actions are taken by the public administrator with regard of the estate. You will receive a petition, which summarizes the estate and reports all actions taken on behalf of the state. If there are no objections in court about the ruling, then an order will be entered by the court concluding the estate.  Once this happens, the personal representative can then distribute the remaining assets to heirs and pay any necessary fees.

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